As a child, I always enjoyed cutting out sugar cookies, and then watching them bake through our oven door. It was great fun to have cookies cut out in interesting shapes! One nice thing about sugar cookies is that they can be decorated to suit almost any holiday. Since Independence Day, has the striking color combinations of red, white, and blue, why not try your hand at some piping?
Here’s a classic sugar cookie recipe from the 1989 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. We’ve used it many times throughout the years with great success.
Another reason to love sugar cookies is that they can freeze well in any state–raw dough, baked cookies, or even decorated cookies. They’re easy to pull out and defrost whenever you feel like having a snack.Print
These made from scratch sugar cookies are easy to make and are fun to cut out and decorate. The kids will have the best time decorating them with frosting and sprinkles this Christmas season! Just change up your cookie cutters and make them for different holidays, like July 4th and Easter.
For the Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup shortening, lard, or unsalted butter (We used shortening.)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk or orange juice (We used milk.)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Dash of salt
For the Water Icing
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- Cold milk or cold water
- Optional: red and blue food coloring
For the Decoration
- Optional: red and blue gel icing
- Using a freestanding mixer, beat the butter and shortening, or lard, together until fluffy.
- Dump in half of the flour and the remaining cookie ingredients and mix at medium-low speed until fully blended.
- Add the remaining flour and mix again until it is completely incorporated.
- Form the dough into 2 flat discs and wrap in cling wrap.
- Chill the dough for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Once the dough is chilled, place one of the discs on a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin to about 3 mm thick.
- Cut out the cookies using a medium-sized star cutter, taking care to place them as close together as possible.
- Move them to a baking stone or parchment-lined baking tray, placing them about 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake each tray at 375 F for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when they are firm around the edges and a pale golden on the bottom.
- Cool the cookies on wire racks, about 20 minutes.
- For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Whisk in the milk or water a tablespoon at a time until you have a thick but spreadable icing.
- Spoon the icing into a sandwich bag and cut off the tip when you are ready to decorate. If you don’t have any gel icing, color some of the icing red and blue for decorating. Put those in separate sandwich bags.
- To decorate the cookies, pipe on the white icing in stripes, polka dots, or any other pattern you would like. Continue with red and blue gel icing to add color.
- Let the icing dry, and then serve.